Coolest Projects UK 2019 : In Review
Coolest Projects UK, a world-leading tech showcase for young people, took place in The Sharp Project in Manchester this Saturday.
At the event, organised by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, more than 120 of Britain’s young tech innovators came together to share over 80 digital projects with one another and with more than 500 members of the public.
Coolest Projects challenged anyone under 18 to build a tech project for this event, using any programming language, hardware, or technology available to them. Creators of outstanding entries won awards in the categories Visual Programming, Websites, Mobile Apps, or Hardware.
Sponsored by Atom Bank, the showcase was filled with more than 80 projects created and presented by bright and talented young coders.
CBeebies’ Maddie Moate and BBC science presenter Greg Foot were our hosts, giving fantastic educational presentations and leading everyone through a special awards ceremony to finish this celebration of the UK’s young tech innovators.
The event coincided with the Raspberry Jam Big Birthday Weekend, so a special community event celebrating the Raspberry Pi computer’s seventh birthday also took place in the venue, with many opportunities for people of all ages to try out coding.
Young coders were awarded in different categories such as Hardware, Visual Programming, and Mobile Apps.
The winners of the Games award were Lukas and Alexander from London, who presented an exciting iPhone collision course game called Meep Sheepey that they had made at their local Code Club!
Having travelled all the way from Fife in Scotland, team of five Jack, Elsa, Bethan, Tara, and Lily won the Mobile Apps award, sponsored by Atom Bank, for their Mad About Litter app which helps tackle littering in their local area.
The winners in the Website category were Beth and Niamh from Merseyside, who made Room 40 – Ciphers of History, a website game aiming to educate people about different kinds of cryptic puzzles and their historical context.
The winners of the Visual Programming category were Dylan and Alex from Cambridge, for Labour of Hercules, their interactive game about the Greek hero Hercules!
And finally, the winner of the Hardware category was 13-year-old Freddie from Monmouthshire, who made Door Pi Plus – a door security system for the elderly, based on facial recognition software.
13-year-old Freddie Howells from Monmouthshire, winner of the Hardware category, said:
“I enjoyed meeting other people and seeing their amazing projects. I’ve been building this project on and off for a year now – I started coding at my primary school Code Club, but now I mainly code at home.
Coding is cool because you can invent cool things to help you and other people around you.
I do think more kids should code because lots of the job in the future are probably going to involved coding. ”
13-year-old Sally Wells from Strood, who invented a game for Coolest Projects UK 2019, said she started coding to help people.
“I’m involved with Future Coders, because I decided it would be a great extracurricular activity and useful in the future. You can make things to basically help people improve their lives – it’s hard at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.”
She said sharing her project with other kids at Coolest Projects UK helped her come up with new ideas.
“Because of another person’s idea, I’ve had a new idea for a new game – I’m definitely come back again next year!”
Parent Ann-Marie Caporn, a computer science teacher from Manchester, said participating in the event helped her daughter gain confidence and a greater love for coding.
“My daughter can be quite shy, so even over the course of the day it’s boosted her confidence. She’s an expert in her project, and explaining it to judges, other kids, and the public she’s been delighted. I’ve seen her grow in confidence over the day!
I think coding is part of the future, and children need to be able to create things we can’t even teach them about yet. It’s important for them to learn how to do this independently.”
BBC science presenter Greg Foot presented on the day, dazzling the young crowd with tales of his experiences climbing to base camp of Mt Everest to carry out science experiments.
He said to the crowd of young innovators:
“When I was your age, I loved science, I loved tech and engineering and thought I’d end up working in a lab. But what I learned is that science, engineering, maths, and tech are a ticket to travel the world, and I know from looking at all your projects that you are all going to go on some amazing adventures.”
He said about the event:
“I was genuinely inspired by the kids. Their projects are phenomenal, and it’s really inspiring. It’s been an amazing day!”
Maddie Moate, presenter of CBeebies series Do You Know? presented alongside Greg, giving a talk on ‘How LEGO is made’ that enthralled the young makers.
She said: “The atmosphere today was electric. And there was so much positivity and encouragement amongst the young creators.
Whilst we were here to announce winners, it very much felt like a day celebrating a community of makers, builders, and change-makers, and that’s what today is really about.
The careers these creators will be doing in the future probably don’t exist yet, and giving them the opportunity to take part in showcases like this lets them take control of their own futures and build their own pathways.”
Tom Evans of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the charity behind Coolest Projects, says “Coolest Projects is all about celebrating young people who love technology.
They are the next generation of innovators in the UK, and it’s exciting to see their ideas and vision for where technology can go next.”
Helen Drury, lead organiser of Coolest Projects UK, emphasises how Coolest Projects participants, as well as developing technical skills, build confidence and soft skills over the course of creating something for Coolest Projects.
“Creating a project from scratch and presenting it at a showcase like this is a really formative experience for participants,” she says.
“Building skills such as project planning, teamwork, and the ability to proudly present their own idea or finished project can really help develop the confidence of young people.”
For further info on Coolest Projects click here
Click here for a Twitter moment featuring the day’s highlights